By Dustin Cabeal
We’re getting to the really good stuff now. With my manga reviews I do try and avoid mentioning the anime adaptations, but this week I haven’t been very successful in doing that. There is a reason to do so here because there has always been a fuss about Tokyo Ghoul Root A, deviating from the manga, but with the last volume and this volume of Tokyo Ghoul, I’ve seen how it’s come back around to the same point. It’s yet to be seen if this entire arc will play the same as the anime, but there are similarities.
There are also some very key differences. The first being that Rize is still alive and being kept on the verge of starvation by Mr. Yomo. The other difference that is very important to understand about Tokyo Ghoul the manga versus Tokyo Ghoul the anime, the focus is not on the action, but rather the consequences of the action. As horrific and mysterious as this series is, in its anime form it's very much an action series with a lot of drama. The manga, the source material, has some action, but it’s not an action story. In fact, you should dread the action moments because 9 out of 10 times it means someone is going to die or be hurt.
Just looking back at the series all of the major deaths have had lasting consequences to the story and changed characters. Hinami, in particular, has been the most affected by death, giving her this fragile shell of protection that is just waiting to break and go nuts. She’s not alone though as the revenge kill on Mado affected both his partner and his daughter. None of these deaths have been “cool” or great action because Sui Ishida is focused on the outcome rather than the action, which is for the best. It keeps you from rooting for one side or the other because at the end of the day that’s the conundrum, how can these two groups get along without killing each other? It humanizes this story in that as the reader we scream at the two groups asking why they can’t get along, all the while ignoring the rest of the world which struggles with the same exact problem. People are people everywhere as the Twilight Zone once said.
The actual volume itself sees the raid on Anteiku begin, which has always been a part that bothered me when you find out who initiated it and why. That’s neither here nor there as a few of the members of the café fight alongside Mr. Yoshimura. Kaneki gets involved of course, but not before the Gourmet and Nishiki try to stop him. Unfortunately, he runs into the man who’s become his rival while trying to get to Mr. Yoshimura.
There is so much heart in this volume of Tokyo Ghoul. From the Doves as they write their last will and testament before the mission, to Shu’s heartfelt and yet selfish please to Kaneki to not go off and die. It’s a huge moment for the series because no one feels safe anymore with the exception of Kaneki, who may just come out of this battle more damaged than ever before. The fact that Ishida never lets us forget how emotionally damaged Kaneki has become is amazing. When you really think about everything that he’s gone through, from attempted murder, to becoming a ghoul, to learning how to live with that, to being captured and tortured, to hunting down enemies and learning how to fight in order to protect the very few people in the world that he cares about, while dealing with everything that happened to him… it’s fucking incredible. Ishida is a talented writer, and this series shines because of the drama and the human moments that all of the characters have.
The artwork continues to get better and better. You don’t see that a lot in manga, usually the creator/artist has a style that is consistent throughout and that’s it. With Tokyo Ghoul, with Ishida’s unusual style, it's allowed him to grow as an artist. The facial expressions have gotten better and more intense leading to more emotions for the characters, meaning more for the reader to feel as well. While the art has gotten cleaner and smoother over the volumes, it still maintains it’s rough charm that was present in the early volumes. It is a treat to see a manga artist actually develop their skills throughout the course of the series.
If you don’t like Tokyo Ghoul, then there’s no reason to read this volume or review, but if you do, then this is a great volume to look forward to reading. If you’ve never checked it out, then hear me out and give it a shot. I don’t care if you start with this volume, just start. If you don’t see the quality and the emotion poured into every page then so be it, it’s not for everyone. For the rest of you that do, then you will discover one of the best manga and best comic books published today.
Tokyo Ghoul vol. 13
Creator: Sui Ishida
Publisher: Viz/Viz Signature